[transcon] We Need More Than Paint - Couch St

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Steve B

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May 7, 2010, 4:47:27 PM5/7/10
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We've gotten the official response from PBOT: http://bikeportland.org/2010/05/07/pbot-director-sue-keil-issues-statement-on-couch-bike-lane/

In essence, more paint. 

Reading some of the comments, it looks like people see this as a perfect opportunity to go "world class" on this new construction and come up with a solution that goes beyond paint.

The alternatives proposed so far are plastic bollards, raising the bike lane to sidewalk height, or a concrete barrier.  I'm sure an engineer would have a good understanding of the best solution, so shouldn't we ask for better?  These are the sort of opportunities PBOT should be seizing to demonstrate its commitment to the Bike Master Plan for 2030.

Anyone want to plan a rally/action around this?  We could also draft a letter.

Thanks,
Steve






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rawi...@juno.com

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May 7, 2010, 9:46:25 PM5/7/10
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i honestly don't think you can get consensus on this. my view is that they should simply get rid of the striped bike lane, drop the posted limit to 15 mph on the curve, and have done with it. others want a raised cycletrack with flashing lights.

r.


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Steve B

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May 10, 2010, 6:20:06 PM5/10/10
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I had some good offline conversations about this with some AROW folks this weekend (including Russ), sounds like there is definitely interest in responding to this, perhaps with a street demo.  I don't think we have to say "build this thing we want," but more like "PBOT has to do better than this, here are some ideas.." We rode this ramp on Saturday and that buffered bike lane just doesn't cut it, in my opinion.

Apropos, streetfilms profiles a similar bridge where they implemented a cycletrack: http://www.streetfilms.org/vancouver-adds-cycletrack-to-burrard-bridge/

If we do something on the bridge, anyone have thoughts on a good time of the day to get some attention for this?  I guess morning time is when most traffic heads in that direction.

Thanks,
Steve
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Alexis Grant

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May 10, 2010, 6:38:17 PM5/10/10
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I rode the bridge this weekend (Friday evening) and didn't really have
any issues with it except that the pavement is yucky where they ground
the old stripe off. I definitely noticed that it would have felt
narrow without the striping change, but that's done now.

It was not at a busy time of day, so that may change my perspective,
but there were some cars approaching the bridge at the same time. I
plan to try riding it during heavier traffic, but in the meantime I
have to admit I don't really see an issue with the current layout or
the curves (I felt comfortable on them, going at a moderate but not
slow speed), and the addition of the buffer makes it nicer than your
average lane. (I like the buffered lanes on Stark and Oak as well, for
what it's worth -- with the extra space, I feel safer from routine
inattention by people driving, without the physical barriers
introducing merging and turning issues.)

The approach via Couch has some interesting and challenging problems.
The layout is squeezed because of on-street parking, and there's heavy
right-turn traffic at several places. Removing the on-street parking
would, in theory, stop the squeeze, but would further encourage
cyclists to ride on the right, leading to potentially greater
right-hook problems. One can take the lane until 6th, but then the
bike lane forces you to the right by law. The lane could be installed
on the left, but then you're in the wrong place at the bridge, which
would likely require a separate signal cycle to address.

Given that the majority of the issues are on the approach (the bridge
itself has a nice wide bike lane, and placing a physical barrier there
could be complex with the need to open the bridge), I'm not sure
whether it makes sense to say that a cycletrack is the solution.

Personally, I think this may be one that's better handled by direct
conversation and engagement, rather than symbolic demonstrations.
Certainly the direct conversations I've had about it have been very
helpful to my understanding; the broadcast-style news about it, less
so.

Alexis
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Allan Rudwick

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May 10, 2010, 6:41:15 PM5/10/10
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what if the barrier was only for the curves?
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Michael O'Leary

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May 10, 2010, 6:56:58 PM5/10/10
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Alexis,

On Friday at about 6:00 pm I watched traffic at the Couch onramp for about 30 minutes, taking photos showing every other car cutting over the "buffer" at the top right hand turn over the "bike lane."

This morning I rode in on Couch at about 8:00 am and watched an SUV attempt to intimidate a cyclists out of the travel lane.

Would you meet up with me tomorrow at 8:00 am to make a couple of laps from 14th down to MLK?

That way we could compare notes and have a conversation from an equivalent basis of experience.

Call me at 503-970-8214.

~mike





Our work is to build for all these beings a wildish countryside wherein the artists among them can make, the lovers love, the healers heal.

-Clarissa Pinkola Estes


On Mon, May 10, 2010 at 3:38 PM, Alexis Grant <ale...@gmail.com> wrote:

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Michael O'Leary

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May 11, 2010, 11:25:49 AM5/11/10
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Hey Alexis~

Wish you could have come by this morning to catch Couch with traffic.

There were quite a few good interactions.

One thing that particularly cheered me was seeing Crissa, one of the women who fell on Couch recently, as she rolled in to work this morning.

Unfortunately, though, paint is not proving to be an effective barrier.

See pic from today attached.

~Mike



Our work is to build for all these beings a wildish countryside wherein the artists among them can make, the lovers love, the healers heal.

-Clarissa Pinkola Estes


On Mon, May 10, 2010 at 3:38 PM, Alexis Grant <ale...@gmail.com> wrote:

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rawi...@juno.com

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May 11, 2010, 12:38:14 PM5/11/10
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when you think about it, though, what is a bus supposed to do in that corner? this is one reason a jersey barrier will not work here. unless we are going to put bikes on the sidewalk (but then will i be forbidden to take the lane?), we are pretty much limited to dropping the speed limit to fifteen and putting down sharrows.

r.
(the broken record)


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Carl Larson

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May 11, 2010, 12:58:21 PM5/11/10
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Sharrows on Couch (and get rid of those two blocks of bike lane),
Mellow riding on Ankeny (all the way to 3rd and under the bridge),
Grade-separated cycletracks on Burnside (it's so wide!).

That's my dream.

Carl

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Allan Rudwick

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May 11, 2010, 1:01:49 PM5/11/10
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you're saying basically, put a ramp from 2nd up to the bridge? (in both directions) sounds like it would be pretty cool

Carl Larson

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May 11, 2010, 3:26:42 PM5/11/10
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From 3rd up to the s-curve.  Right.
 
Carl

 
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Eleanor Blue

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May 11, 2010, 3:39:37 PM5/11/10
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How about detouring the cars and buses to the Steel or Morrison? Couch looks like a perfectly functional cycletrack already.

Helpfully,
Elly
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Steve B

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May 11, 2010, 5:27:54 PM5/11/10
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Yeah -- why do we need so many lanes on the Burnside, anyway?  I like how Ted calls it a "quarter mile freeway."  Making couch st merge into a 1 lane onramp would be similar to the Steel bridge, and would give people on bikes way more room (and allow buses a wider turn).

For folks who'd like to see more than a painted buffer, please please please write/call/tweet Mayor Adams & Council about it! Ask your friends to do the same. If you ride over any part of our city and you're concerned about safety, had a close call, almost crashed... CALL 503-823-SAFE.   This is an opportune time to hold the city accountable to it's mission for a safer, more equitable bikeway network which council adopted with the Bike Master Plan.

I want to see this bike facility become a comfortable place for a 5 year old to ride with his folks to the Saturday market, the library, maybe stop at the museum.  I'm not a parent, but I try to see all of our infrastructure through the lens of our youngest.  I think it's a pretty good barometer for a safe facility, and in my opinion, this is super-mega-not-kid-friendly. 

Once we get this fixed, then we can push for a world class solution for the westside of the bridge.

Anyone want to meet up and hand out some 'contact your reps and ask for a better solution' flyers on the bridge later this week?

+S
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Allan Rudwick

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May 11, 2010, 5:38:39 PM5/11/10
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instead of merging into a 1-lane thing, why not make the burnside bridge 2 lanes in each direction instead of 3 going east and 2 going west?

rawi...@juno.com

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May 11, 2010, 6:21:26 PM5/11/10
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traffic counts eastbound are consistently a couple thousand per day higher than westbound over the bridge (though we are talking only ten pct. of roughly 20k each way). not sure this justifies the third eastbound lane, but i agree with steve that some solution that allows buses a wider turning radius into the corner from couch onto the bridge is desirable. possibly a single, wider travel lane (allowing a wider and more separated bike lane) would be workable.

i took this route again this morning on my way down to pioneer courthouse square to leaflet the bike to work breakfast crowd for the ride of silence. rush hour traffic so heavy and slow the timing of the lights did not matter. (would have been suicide, incidentally, to take the bike lane through the intersection at grand.) no one grudged me the travel lane, because it was obviously they who were slowing me down, not the other way round. on the entry ramp i took the travel lane until the corner itself, where, having prevented anyone coming up on my left, i had it to myself.

it seems to me this is the way to handle the current configuration, but i get the point about the five year old kid. you may say, but a five year old kid shouldn't be playing in traffic. and here let me put aside for a moment my curmudgeonly vehicular cyclist persona and say, oh yeah? says who? fifty years ago when i was a kid, etc., etc.

the original planning for burnside and couch talked about making the entire corridor -- from 24th place west to 14th avenue east -- walkable. this must at some level imply reducing motor vehicle speeds if not volumes, though PBoT and the city seem to deny this.

oh, incidentally, as far as the west end of the bridge is concerned. the plans call for one hundred percent of traffic to be forced right at 2nd to couch, with burnside one way eastbound all the way in from 15th and a bunch of angled parking along the north side of the street. problem solved.

r.


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Aaron

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May 11, 2010, 11:26:06 PM5/11/10
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Great idea Elly;
but better yet, how about we route all the cars to the Fremont, and the
buses will have the left lane for themselves leaving plenty of room in
the right lane for a wide cycletrack
dreaming
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*Aaron*

"There can be no economy on a planet that cannot support life."
(attributed to Brian O'Leary <http://www.brianoleary.info/>)

/"No single snowflake claims responsibility for the avalanche."/

"Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell."

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do
nothing" Edmund Burke


Eleanor Blue wrote:
> How about detouring the cars and buses to the Steel or Morrison? Couch
> looks like a perfectly functional cycletrack already.
>
> Helpfully,
> Elly
>
> On Tue, May 11, 2010 at 12:26 PM, Carl Larson <carl.s...@gmail.com
> <mailto:carl.s...@gmail.com>> wrote:
>
> From 3rd up to the s-curve. Right.
>
> Carl
>
>
> On 5/11/10, *Allan Rudwick* <arud...@gmail.com
> <mailto:arud...@gmail.com>> wrote:
>
> you're saying basically, put a ramp from 2nd up to the bridge?
> (in both directions) sounds like it would be pretty cool
>
> On Tue, May 11, 2010 at 9:58 AM, Carl Larson
> <carl.s...@gmail.com <mailto:carl.s...@gmail.com>> wrote:
>
> Sharrows on Couch (and get rid of those two blocks of bike
> lane),
> Mellow riding on Ankeny (all the way to 3rd and under the
> bridge),
> Grade-separated cycletracks on Burnside (it's so wide!).
>
>
> That's my dream.
>
>
> Carl
>
>
> On Tue, May 11, 2010 at 9:38 AM, rawi...@juno.com
> <mailto:rawi...@juno.com> <rawi...@juno.com
> <mailto:rawi...@juno.com>> wrote:
>
> when you think about it, though, what is a bus
> supposed to do in that corner? this is one reason a
> jersey barrier will not work here. unless we are
> going to put bikes on the sidewalk (but then will i be
> forbidden to take the lane?), we are pretty much
> limited to dropping the speed limit to fifteen and
> putting down sharrows.
>
> r.
> (the broken record)
>
>
> --
> http://groups.google.com/group/transconpdx
>
>
>
>
> --
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>
>
>
>
> --
> Allan Rudwick
> (503) 703-3910
>
> --
> http://groups.google.com/group/transconpdx
>
>
> --
> http://groups.google.com/group/transconpdx
>
>
> --
> http://groups.google.com/group/transconpdx



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r

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May 12, 2010, 10:54:54 AM5/12/10
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Michael O'Leary

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May 12, 2010, 12:41:54 PM5/12/10
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Paint Strategy Update:

The paint on the Couch onramp still seems to be using Muhammad Ali's Rope-a-Dope strategy in it's planned victory over cars, trucks, tow trucks. delivery vans, buses.

According to this strategy, even though the paint seems right now just to be taking a lot of damage from it's opponent, it's really just conserving it's energy, and will prove quite assertive in later rounds.

Let all who doubt that paint can protect you be emboldeded by this strategy, and the associated claims from planners, engineers and decision makers that paint is adequate for protecting cyclists at the couch onramp.

Whatever you do, pay no attention to today's photos, do not ride it for yourself during the morning rush, and don't imagine infrequent riders from Laurelhurst, Irvington, Hollywood and Mt Tabor using this new bikeway for the first time as the weather gets nicer.

In the mean time, ride safe, and think "strong paint!"

~mike



Our work is to build for all these beings a wildish countryside wherein the artists among them can make, the lovers love, the healers heal.

-Clarissa Pinkola Estes


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5.12.e.jpg
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Allan Rudwick

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May 12, 2010, 12:50:43 PM5/12/10
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riding  the bike lanes out in the suburbs often (and i realize we want to do better than this), but i notice that in the absence of bikes, cars often veer into the bike lane.  In the presence of bikes, the drivers give space.  None of the pictures of drivers in the bike lane show bikes anywhere near the area.  Am I completely wrong in my line of thinking here?  Even on the vancouver bikeway there are spots where the white paint is worn off due to drivers missing their turns.  is that really that big of a deal? 

I'm not trying to say that we have a world-class facility, but it is better.  A few sharrows along couch should finish up the project nicely, no?


On Wed, May 12, 2010 at 9:41 AM, Michael O'Leary <pdx...@gmail.com> wrote:


Whatever you do, pay no attention to today's photos, do not ride it for yourself during the morning rush, and don't imagine infrequent riders from Laurelhurst, Irvington, Hollywood and Mt Tabor using this new bikeway for the first time as the weather gets nicer.

In the mean time, ride safe, and think "strong paint!"



rawi...@juno.com

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May 12, 2010, 2:05:51 PM5/12/10
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responding to allan's question: yes and no. the corner is too tight for buses, and it is too tight for a sedan to take at twenty plus mph. the only way for a cyclist to protect herself through this corner is to take the lane. either the city will have to force lower speeds through here (and somehow provide for buses to take a longer arc through the corner), or get rid of the bike lane and put down sharrows (but mom won't ride it), or separate the bike facility at least through this corner.

r.


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Steve B

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May 12, 2010, 5:14:49 PM5/12/10
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Hi folks--

I'll be out by the onramp today handing out "contact your officials about this" flyers and engaging folks who are interested.  I should be out there around 4:00pm, if you're free you're welcome to join me! 

Peace,
Steve
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rawi...@juno.com

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May 12, 2010, 5:33:13 PM5/12/10
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who really wants to hear about this is katja dillmann, the mayor's transpo policy advisor. her e-mail is katja.d...@ci.portland.or.cs, phone 503.823.1125, tweet @katjatweets, etc., etc.

r.


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